OPEC nations have shattered records for income this year, earning as much money in the first 6 months of 2008 as they did in all of 2007, the Financial Times reports. The Saudi-led cartel of oil-exporting nations took home $645 billion in the first two quarters and is on course to pull in more than a trillion dollars by year's end.
The recent drop in oil prices, which have fallen 20% after hitting record highs, is unlikely to put a major dent in OPEC earnings; higher output of petroleum has offset any losses. The flood of petrodollars into the OPEC states has led to a spending binge, with imports up 40% over last year. But the US is seeing little benefit from that spree; increasingly, oil states are buying goods and services from Asian emerging markets and the eurozone.